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Bryant and Benton Arkansas Annexation - Reader comments part 4

Citizen complainers,

I am from outside the state. Only 3 yrs here. I keep seeing signs of the same issue over and over. People are not educated enough down here.

Look at Bryant. The new home developments south along 183 toward Bauxite. Diddifcult to build and sell. Difficult to resell. Why? Answer that question and you will understand why the annexation is proposed.

I can think of three issues: People in general don't want to live closer to the airport and the dump! South is a poor choice to "offer" growth. Second, people do want easy access to the Little Rock jobs. And people want easy access to Highway 40. Both of these "wants" are better served NORTH of I-30. Third, the south side central homes of Bryant are greatly out-dated. They are the old 60's 12" floorplans. Today's buyers are not interested in high windows and 12' wide living rooms. This area will continue to decline.

Problem is: Bryant is land limited north. Bryant believes they are losing potential growth because people won't move south and they cannot offer north. Look how fast the homes along Hww 5 are selling - does that give you a clue?

The annexation offers a Northside Bryant. It will sell very quickly as it is developed. Bryant is progressive minded and offers well-thought-out city planning. Benton is a good-ole-boy city thrown together with little to offer. But it DOES offer new construction with easy access to I-30 and you can cut up Hwy 9 to I-40. What it lacks in city planning, it makes up in commuter ease. Bryant is having trouble competing.

Also, your argument is backwards. The rural folks are not feeling forced to annex. If they are annexed they will likely see a big rise in their property value, especially AFTER the water, sewer, and city support systems are in place. They will make a lot of money selling at city land prices and buying a little farther out at rural prices. They are hardly being mistreated.

What I hear is a few people thinking only of themselves with no VISION to the future.

So, wake up and smell the coffee.


People would probably pay more attention to your opinions if you would refrain from insulting us e.g. we are "not educated enough down here" in the south. I believe that people can understand facts and common- sense arguments regardless of their education level.

I have no problems with growth, housing developments, and voluntary annexation. But, it is easier said than done to pay for building out infrastructure to a very large rural area. Google "Jefferson County Alabama". They built out a large sewer system, made promises they could not keep, and issued bonds they could not pay off. They owe over $3 billion with no hope of paying that debt unless they drastically raise utility rates and taxes.

I would think that Bryant residents would want their city take a lesson from Jefferson County and refrain from taking on more than they can handle.

Who do you think is going to pay for the new infrastructure in the annexed area?

If the answer is the residents in the rural area, then I do not see how actual property values will increase when people are paying triple amounts for utilities or extra taxes compared to other comparable (non annexed) areas. By "actual property values" I mean what people can actually get for their property vs. assessed value.

If the answer is current residents, then why would those people want to double the size of their city and double their utility bills and / or taxes?

I know that Bryant's story is that it can all happen without an increase in taxes. Remember, that was also what Jefferson County Alabama promised.

I notice you did not argue against our Conway example of voluntary annexation. Why do you think that annexation by election is the way to do it?

You were also silent on the fact that a Benton Alderman admitted that annexing about a tenth of what Bryant wants to annex would very likely have resulted in tax increases for all Benton citizens. If Benton would have to raise taxes, how can Bryant annex such a larger and more rural area without raising taxes?

What is your explanation for the Bryant mayor admitting that the city has been growing so fast that they do not have the money to fix drainage problems?

Charles Young

Agreed - Wake up and smell the coffee! Vote for the annexation on Nov 4th... If they are annexed they will likely see a big rise in their property value, especially AFTER the water, sewer, and city support systems are in place - also agree!


I thank you Charles for doing a fine job moderating this group. What a wonderful country we live in where we can share ideas, agree to disagree and even protest when we disagree.

"So, wake up and smell the coffee.

"Also, your argument is backwards. The rural folks are not feeling forced to annex. If they are annexed they will likely see a big rise in their property value, especially AFTER the water, sewer, and city support systems are in place. They will make a lot of money selling at city land prices and buying a little farther out at rural prices. They are hardly being mistreated. What I hear is a few people thinking only of themselves with no VISION to the future."

Wake up and smell the coffee!"

"Rural folks" again! Well, first, I don't do coffee. Next, I can and do think for myself. I do have a VISION for my own future and it does not include living in any city. I don't propose to speak for anyone other than myself so here goes.

Thankfully, I have the CHOICE to live in a county area not encumbered by any city. I have chosen to live here for a very long time. I have lived in Benton and Bryant and other much larger cities in other states. I do not think of my county property as a disposable commodity because we CHOOSE not to move anywhere else but yes I do know that it is ultimately a commodity with value. "AFTER the city infrastructure is in place" will be a very long time for us if it ever happens. We have good well water, septic, power, fire, police already in place. Our street slopes downhill which means that IF a sewer line is put on our street it will involve pumps which I will venture that most of us on this street can't afford and Bryant (or Benton) certainly won't pay for. (I won't go into all of the issues involved with getting a water line on our street.) What are they offering us but more taxes for less? My own particular vision of the future for me is to be right where I HAVE CHOSEN TO BE.

I own other property which was included in an island annexation into the City of Bryant in 2004. There is still NO SEWER service there and last I checked none proposed. Property values are exploding within a block of my parcel yet on this street the increase in values is very disproportionate. No sewer for the folks on that street yet the taxes continue to go up every year. I can do the math.

I am very happy that these folks love to live in Bryant. If they should get tired of it, like a quieter life style, want a little more freedom, more space, then perhaps they will sell their homes, make a huge profit and move out here with us 'rural folks'.

Welcome to the neighborhood.
Pam Jones

I'm generally a lurker, but after reading the initial post which prompted your reply, I was very tempted to respond. I'm glad I didn't - I could NOT have said it any better than you just did. Well said, VERY well said. And accurate.

Thanks for taking the time to do this. And thanks to Charles, for moderating this group.

Michele English

After thinking about your post, I have some more thoughts. Not that you will even read this or care, but perhaps other people might come to realize that no matter how elegant your arguments for doubling the size of Bryant overnight, there are flaws in those arguments.

I admit that there does seem to be a perception among some northerners such as yourself that southerners generally are not well educated, and do not make much money. And that may apply double or triple to rural southerners.

However, the perception is not always the truth. In the area that Bryant is trying to annex there are some very well educated and somewhat wealthy residents. There are architects, doctors and other medical professionals, lawyers, financial planners, corporate officers, certified public accountants, etc.

Then there are various business owners; homebuilders, transportation and recreation product retailers, retail store managers, vice president of an electrical contracting company with over $60 Million in annual sales, and the owner of that company. I am sure that some of those people are millionaires.

Of course there are more people who work in blue collar jobs, and many of those probably struggle to make ends meet. I understand that some people prefer to live in neighborhoods where all houses and lots are about the same size, and everyone has about the same education and income, and I have no quarrel with that choice. However, some of us prefer rural living and are not afraid of living down the road from someone who has much less or much more education and income than we do. Please do not expect everyone to make the same choices that you make, or criticize us because you may think we are making the wrong choices.

You think I do not have a vision for the future, but I do. My vision for the future is that we will continue to be free to choose country living just as you are free to choose city living. I bought my house to live in -- not as an investment. I hope that my utility bills and property taxes do not increase so much that I will be forced to move out of my house because I can no longer afford it.

Similar to our rural communities, the people who offer their opinions here obviously have differing levels of education and communication skills. Just because someone is not as well educated or fluent in English as you, does not mean that their opinion does not count. Even though I disagree with you, I respect your right to have and express your opinion. I wish you would have the same respect and not talk down to those who are not so well educated as you are. We all have one vote on election day no matter our level of education.

I noticed that you have not replied to my earlier post questioning your thoughts on some of the points that are listed on the web pages. I suspect that you did not even read the reasons why we are against annexation, and furthermore that you mistakenly concluded that we are against all growth and all forms of annexation. The web pages offer Conway as a model of good growth which I wish the cities in Saline County would emulate. So, if you had indeed read the web pages to find out our stance on the annexation issues, you would have known that we are not campaigning against all growth or all annexation. I am for small voluntary annexations in areas where the majority of residents want to live in the city, and where there is enough population density to be considered city living.

I am proud of the people who have and continue to campaign against the large unfair annexations. I am proud of our web pages informing people of the issue. Many people have and continue to contribute information about why these annexations are not good for Bryant or the people in the proposed annexation areas. I think anyone who spends a little time reading the web pages will see that this is a team effort. Go Team.

Charles Young

Name: EducatedRuralFolk. I am: Against Annexation. I am in: Springhill annexation area.

Comments: To the "Newbies":
You might be suprised to know the education level of the proposed annexation area residents. Among the German settlers from the 1900's are Doctors, Lawyers, Millionaires (YES), CPA's, Medical Professionals and NUMEROUS hard working people and retirees that have actually gotten past the third grade.

These people have chosen to live outside Bryant city limits for the same various reasons, but mainly because they WANT to. Just like city residents WANT to live in the city.

Funny how "progressive" city officials "sell" the promise of growing Fantazia\OZ and condemn those who don't buy the argument. What's next? Billions spent on light rail transportation

Name: Concerned. I am: Against Annexation. I am in: Benton.

Comments: Attend one of the Bryant City Council Meetings and see how messed up the city is. The council is corrupt and so is the administration excluding maybe the police chief. Fix what you have before you try to annex.

Whatever... You are wrong as well and misinformed... You were only at one meeting... Come on!


Name: Dianna Goforth. I am: Against Annexation. I am in: Springhill annexation area

Name: Randall Green. I am: Against Annexation. I am in: Bryant.

Comments: I can't believe Bryant is really foolish enought to attempt something like this. This is wrong on several levels.

Name: Bubba. I am: Against Annexation. I am in: Bryant.

Comments: We were annexed into Bryant over 20 years ago. For the increased taxes, we got nothing that we didn't have before except a dog catcher that we don't need. We still have no sewer -- who knows if we ever will?

Don't believe all the promises that Bryant makes.

Name: huffman. I am: For Annexation. I am in: Bryant.

Name: Marvin Caldwell. I am: Against Annexation. I am in: Northlake - Salem annexation area. Email (Optional): racinghoman@sbcglobal.net

Comments: would it be possible to have the vote on november 4 pulled from the ballot by filling a complaint to the states Attorney Generals office?

It seems as though the powers that be have expanded on the law of eminent domain to take further inroads into our rights to own and enjoy our own property and determine the way it will be used. Who determined that our quality of life could only be good if we are inside the jurisdiction and zoning control of a city government?

How far do we have to move to have the right to own livestock or build pole barns and other related choices?

Arlene Porter

If you live in an area that Bryant is trying to take, please make sure that the annexation question is on your ballot.

"I voted early today in downtown Benton. I signed in and was given a ballot type 16 for the poll worker to electronically allow my machine to have that ballot style. After going through all 6 pages on the screen of the 6 page ballot, I realized that there was no Annexation portion on there for the North Lake area Bryant is trying to Annex. I completed my ballot and did not dispute this with the poll worker. I had already received a letter from the City of Bryant telling me that my property is in the proposed annexed North Lake area.

I tell you this so that you will be aware that this can happen... that people in the area to be annexed may not even have the annexation question on their electronic ballots. If they wait until election day on November 4th to vote, I don't know if the Saline County Clerk's office will get this corrected by then.

It is an insult to know that I was told I couldn't vote in the Benton annexation election on October 14th and then was allowed to sign the book and vote when clearly my property is in the boundaries of the annexed area. It is an insult to know that I can not rely on the Saline County Clerk's office to get me the proper electronic ballot so that I could vote on the North Lake Annexation by Bryant.

I realize my vote has been cast for the general election and that can't be corrected so that I can vote on the proposed annexed area. But I sure can tell others so that they can be informed to look for this on their ballots.

Karen Garrett
Against Proposed Annexations by Bryant and Benton"

Everyone who is in a proposed annexation area should have received a letter from Bryant. The part of Salem Community between Zuber Road and Samples Road is being called "Northlake" along with the real Northlake area east of Zuber Road. I suspect that there may be some Salem Community residents who did not receive a letter, and are unaware that they are in the "Northlake" annexation area. There may also be some people in the Springhill, Midland, and Hilldale areas who do not realize that they are in the annexation areas. We have some excellent maps of the various annexation areas, but unfortunately, a lot of people do not have computers, or do not know about our web pages.

The Northlake (& Salem) area people should get Ballot 40 which has the annexation proposal on it.

Once a ballot is completed, it cannot be changed. It is a shame that there are mistakes made (giving out the wrong ballots) but it appears they are not training the poll workers properly.

Tracy Elliott

Karen Garrett, I feel the same way about your/our voting rights. We all need to be as aware as we can be of who and what we are voting for. I am really skeptical about the electronic voting machines. There are too many ways they can be tampered with. I hope we have more paper ballots used. I know there is no way to be 100%, paper can be tampered with too, but at least there could be a paper trail. If that were my vote not being counted I would be VERY VOCAL about it indeed. Unfortunately, we all need to be more informed, speak out, ask questions. Thank you Tracy for letting us know what balot # we should be handed. You are on top of this! YEA!

Pam Jones

One day last week when Jack was holding a sign opposing annexation across from the VOTE HERE building, Mayor Holland approached him and talked to him for a couple of minutes, thinking that he was picketing against the current proposed Benton annexations, and asking if he didn't approve of voluntary annexations. Jack had to make the Mayor aware that the people in the Bryant area were doing the early voting in the building. He expressed that he wasn't aware of that until Jack informed him. It makes a person wonder how something so public could be happening in a town under the nose of any Mayor.

We have already voted, and both poll workers who signed in Jack and I were diligent about checking closely for which ballot to give us since we are very near the north edge of the Northlake boundary, and we both successfully received and voted on ballot 40 AGAINST the annexation.

Arlene Porter

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